A merry mess...

 Always flowering in the middle of December.
Christmas Hypericum

Right. I am getting the garden (and the house, mustn't forget the house) ready for Christmas. The garden is easy - cosmetic weeding and dead-heading, get the lawns mowed. But the house? It's a merry mess - what to do? Accept the clutter and the lack of style? Throw everything out and get an interior designer in?

Saturday 21st December

Trying to strike deep at the heart of the problem I've washed the chair throws, vacuumed Histeria the tabby off the cat chairs (unsuccessfully), and moved all garden tools, collections of seeds, and soiled gardening gloves out of the kitchen. And then - the ultimate statement.

Regretfully I have decided to retire my Bob the Builder coffee storage container. Clinging on publicly to my very last working school-teacher's lunch box hints at semi-senile silliness. Now my coffee is stored in a beautiful blue glass thingy with a fancy springy lid, matching the loose tea and sugar containers. Understated style is restored to the Moosey kitchen!

 I love blue things.
Blue Cornflowers

Then I found a stack of jolly red Father Christmasses to hang from unadorned branches on my Christmas tree, plus a beautiful old-school cross-stitched cloth for the Christmas table. Ha! Now I look around and I think I feel so much better.

 I hope this will spread in the side of the Island Bed.
Orange Alstroemeria

Ban the Beethoven Rondo...

Beethoven, Beethoven, Beethoven. If I could have had my way, all those years ago, I would have banned the rondo from your writing repertoire. You have taken a lovely, easy-listening form, with the gentlest of 'Play it again, Sam' touches, and turned it into an over-written musical endurance test. Playing one of your Rondos feels like the dentist on a bad day, or (worse) a long distance flight.

I know all rondos (like dentists and flights) have to end eventually, but Beethoven just makes the experience so tedious. Sorry about this. No, I'm not at all sorry! Please refer to the rondos of Sonatas no. 2 and 21, if in doubt.

Right. I have serious things to do, other than complain about an old master - my piano practice (some sneaky Albeniz and some girlie Schumann, yippee) and then my gardening (just a few more things to plant out). And then...

Sunday 22nd December

It's ended up being a good garden maintenance day. I weeded by the Stables while listening to us winning the cricket. Again! One swallow may not make a summer, but two? In a row? I'll take the summer!

 Up the leaning gum tree he goes.
Fluff-Fluff the Mad Cat

The Cat de Jour...

Silly Fluff-Fluff designated himself as my personal cat company (mainly to put Lilli-Puss off - this is her patch of garden). Around he zoomed, wriggling his fluffy backside to pee rudely on my plants whenever he thought I was looking. Fluff-Fluff! Rude cat! I'd shout my disapproval, and he'd zoom up the nearest tree trunk, ears flat, mad look on his face. What a show-off! I wonder what he'd be saying to me throughout all these rather catty antics.


Late afternoon we took some Christmas Horse manure over to Younger Son, took a load of his green waste to the dump, and then - eek! Driving past a church, I suddenly remembered I was singing in its early evening Nine Lessons and Carols service. Oops! I had just enough time to zoom home, clean the hair and fingernails, don the choir uniform and get back. I remind myself there's just one more singing commitment to go, Carols on Christmas Eve with the Salvation Army Band (and six tubas). SIX tubas!

Monday 23rd December

First thing I sat on the cottage verandah, sipped my early cup of tea, and listened to the bellbirds flitting around in the oak trees. It was another of those 'There's nowhere I'd rather be' mornings - the only thing missing might be an unobtrusive maid to bring me marmalade on toast. My shoulder is sore from carting bricks around yesterday, so I'm going swimming with my friends. Anyway, friends are much nicer than a maid.

 A view from the cottage verandah.
Pond Paddock Trees

OK. It's much later, and I've done two hours of Albeniz (piano playing). I've taken Rusty the dog for a walk. And I've dead-headed heaps more roses, cleared some more pine tree branches from the fence-line, and burnt the last of the summer bonfires (the fire ban comes on at 10pm tonight).

Blushing Recycled Roses

I've bucket-watered the new Pittosporums which I hope will grow big and leafy and give privacy from next-door's tree mess. And by a happy coincidence two recycled roses, side by side behind the Stables, are the same gorgeous blushing pink colour.

 This area was wrecked by the fallen trees back in September. How the garden has fought back!
New Pink Roses

Seeds of pink, blue, and white Salvia, the yellow daisy Layla, and white Honesty have been collected and bagged up, and labelled, too. I have a little cane basket which is allowed on the kitchen table, into which they all go. I am, after all, a mad keen and nicely messy gardener. The interior of my house cannot help but reflect this. Ha! Merry Christmas!